Like a cross between a genetically flawed Segway and a YikeBike, the Spanish-designed SSIKE e-Scooter looks to be more inner-city toy than serious people mover. However, aesthetic prowess aside, its reasonably zippy top speed, light weight and portable design could make it a viable addition to the growing list of last-mile transport options out there.
Following the old school configuration of tiny pivoting wheel follows larger driving wheel, the SSIKE uses a 250 W "high torque" brushless electric motor. Mounted in an industrial styled housing encompassing the front wheel, the e-motor provides adequate performance stats for a scooter. With a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph) and a purported range of 40 kilometers (24 miles) – depending on the weight of the rider, terrain, etc. – the SSIKE allows a rider to move silently about Barcelona’s urban landscape with relative ease.
An anti-skid braking system with regenerative abilities helps replenish the battery during spirited braking. Weighing in at only 12 kilograms (26.4 lb) and boasting a fold down handlebar, the SSIKE can also be carried or mounted on a backpack when taking in Gaudi’s unfinished La Sagrada Familia.
The SSIKE’s low center of gravity should help with maneuverability; however the rider’s forward-leaning position and ultra-short wheelbase could prove crotchally hazardous in the event of sudden braking, perpendicularly challenging curbs, or small fat children. Old world, manual foot power can be employed should the scooter lose e-power. Despite what appears to be a highly un-friendly pushing position, going manual will then help to recharge the batteries, allowing the rider to carry on dodging civilians.
The manufacturer, Asen Innovacio, claims riders can learn to "comfortably" acclimatize themselves to the scooter’s unique architecture in just 15 minutes. To enhance handling a combination of the rider’s lean and a "patented" rear wheel steering system (found on all WWI biplanes) appear to give the SSIKE decent maneuverability traits for an urban person mover. Now to work on the finished aesthetics.
The SSIKE is priced at €1590 (around US$2,130) +VAT, which is comparable with the YikeBike, even though it does seem expensive for a scooter. See it in action in the video below.